Sunday, 6 October 2013

One Year On... Saving Sekhemka

One Year On – what happened next in the Save Sekhemka Campaign:

... well, as far as the Save Sekhemka Action Group knows the statue is still at its secret Northampton Borough Council (NBC) location and UNSOLD!

Sadly it is also impossible for a member of the public to view the statue despite several requests. We doubt that this is legal since any member of the public has a right to see any item in a museum collection unless it is too fragile. Sekhemka is not fragile nor are the insurance conditions imposed on NBC by their insurers such that extra security is needed to see it.

The Action Group would rather have the statue, the rest of the Egyptian collection and the Mineral collection back on display in the town’s museums in accordance with the conditions set out in the Deed of Gift of 1880; our campaign will continue until this happens.

The Deed of Gift was published in the June issue of the Museums Journal when Lord Northampton made it available to them. It is still the subject of legal wrangling between Lord Northampton and NBC. 

The Action Group interprets the Deed as either being a Charitable Gift held in trust by NBC for the people of Northampton or a Long Term Loan with Conditions. 

In the first case NBC cannot sell it unless the Charity Commission should be very lenient, in the second the collections would revert to Lord Northampton since NBC has not complied with the conditions. The Action Group has researched all of the above information and ensured that it was made public. We have also alerted the Art Loss Register and the Export Licensing Board to ensure none of the collections go abroad. 

This ALL means that NO reputable auction house will agree to sell either Sekhemka or any part of the collections.

The publicity the Action Group has created has spread and NBC and its actions are now cited worldwide as an example not to be followed. Is this what a town aspiring to city status should be proud of?

One year on ... the Action Group has STOPPED THE SALE and created an impasse for NBC. Not bad for half a dozen people with no funding but fired by enthusiasm and quietly backed by various cultural organisations nationwide. The campaign goes on so please support us, write to your councillor, ask to see the statue and keep an eye on our website ( for the latest developments.

Gunilla Loe
Chair, Save Sekhemka Action Group